Solar panels on a barn roof(c) WestEnd61/REX

Most solar rooftop projects will no longer need planning permission after permitted development rights (PDRs) were extended to installations of up to 1MW.

Previously PDRs were only available on projects of up to 50kW.

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The change was good news and could save time and costs for those considering a solar rooftop array, said Alexander Creed, head of resources and energy at Strutt & Parker.

Thus far, solar rooftop installations had not had problems gaining planning permission, but the full planning process took eight weeks, with professional costs and planning fees typically at about £2,000 for a 100kW installation, said Mr Creed.

Applications under the PDR process will have to go through what is known as prior notification to inform the council of the plan. Local authorities may charge a fee but these are expected to be far lower than full planning fees.

Under the new rules local authorities must consider the impact of glare on occupiers of neighbouring land – this was likely to be misunderstood and may cause some issues when glare had been shown to be a minimal issue for consideration, said Mr Creed.